Bluberry Balsamic Beef Roast

One of the first thing I noticed about paleo is the importance of grass fed beef.  I’d like to think this option would be a whole helluva lot easier stateside, but maybe I’m wrong.  There are some decent options here in Okinawa like I posted in 2012, but the problem with the off-base-grass-fed beef is: 1. the price (ouch) and 2. the size (the cuts of beef off base are made for Japanese families- petite).

One of my absolute favorite cuts of beef is the prime rib.  During my time in Klamath Falls I would visit my great grandfather who lived in Medford.  We would take long Sunday drives around the Rogue Valley where he would transform the land into the way he remembered it in the 1920s and 30s: majestic.  The area where Costco is now used to be my great grandfathers fathers farm.  Our timing was epically off.

After a few hours every Sunday we would find ourselves in Jacksonville, Oregon.  Nestled quietly in the Rouge Valley, Jacksonville, Oregon, is one of my most favorite places in the world.  Quaint, rustic and simple.  The Bella Union with its gourmet menu, gorgeous staff and stiff martini- is my favorite local restaurant.  My great grandfather and I would order the same thing every time: a gin martini and the prime rib.  Our dates together were filled with history lessons, memories of the olden days and talks of the future.

Since his passing in 2004 I have not been back to Jacksonville, however, during the holidays I attempt to make a prime rib he would be proud of.  This past Christmas season had me so far off the paleo bandwagon, I went with this recipe: Webers Prime Rib in a Blue Cheese Crust.  I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, he would have approved!

After a soul satisfying Christmas Dinner, I bagged up the prime ribs and saved them for beef broth.  I used the recipe by eatyourbeets and went with the crockpot-for-8-hours option.

I’ve had the broth sitting in the fridge for a couple of days and finally found a recipe with sacred beef broth potential… here’s the recipe that was my inspiration: Mushroom and Blueberry Balsamic Pot Roast.

Blueberry Balsamic Beef Roast with Shrooms and Carrots

  • chuck roast “Chuck”
  • 2 plastic containers of mushrooms
  • 6 T fat of your choice
  • 1 package of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 bag baby carrots
  • 1 onion, quartered, peeled and core removed
  • 1 c beef broth
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar (I used strawberry)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Turn your crockpot on low.  Remove Chuck from the fridge, wrapper and let him breath while you chop and brown.  Slice the mushrooms in halves, the onion into quarters and leave the blueberries and carrots be.

Heat a pan to just above medium heat, add 2 T of fat of your choice (I used ghee… next time, bacon grease).  Brown the onions, then remove the onions on both sides- place them on a plate.  Do the same with the carrots (they wont “brown”), then remove the carrots and throw them on top of the onion plate.  Add 2 more T of your fat (+some if you’re feeling frisky).  Brown the mushrooms and garlic.  The mushrooms will soak up the fat leaving you with darker colored shrooms, browned garlic and a dry pan.  Add the shrooms and garlic to the onion/carrot plate.

Add the last of your fat to the pan and salt and pepper Chuck.  Brown all sides of Chuck.  Once he is brown on all sides (yes you may have to hold him while you sear the ends) remove him from the pan and lay him ever so gently in the crockpot.

In the same hot pan add the broth, balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce; bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer until reduced by half.  Add the garlic, shooms, onions and carrots to the crockpot.  Tuck all those veggies around Chuck.  Once the sauce is reduced by half pour it over the Chuck and his friends.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

the sauce

the sauce

dinner

dinner

approved!

approved!

When you’re ready to eat, pour the sauce back into the pan and reduce it by half again.  While its reducing slice the roast against the grain, plate your veggies and prepare for tender, flavorful, rustic roast!  Pour the sauce over Chuck and his friends.  Enjoy!

Tootles.

jess

Loser

I have been making JR lunch everyday for about a year now, but I’ve had this little part of me that worried wondered how his school lunch was for him. Everyday he comes home and tells me that todays lunch was the best lunch he’s ever had (have I mentioned he is the sweetest boy?!). Well, today I packed an identical lunch to his…. And I joined him.

I sat at a table with 15 of his 2nd grade classmates. Over half had hot lunch. Hot lunch was a corn dog, 1/2 an apple (fresh & sliced), 2 sliced carrots, 2 stalks of celery (fresh and very pretty), a chocolate chip cookie and milk (chocolate, strawberry or plain). Each hot-lunch-kid at our table ate most of their corn dog, their milk and their cookie. Three kids ate their apple (one kid actually ate their apples and their friends apple). One child ate two carrots.

Why do we have to give our kids dessert at lunch?

Why do we have to give our kids dessert at lunch?

Of the kids who brought lunch, almost every child had a sandwich on white bread. One child had their sandwich in a prepackaged bag…. An “Uncrustable”. The uncrustable kid had a pudding, two packages of of crackers, a chocolate pudding and a juice box. One 2nd grader brought two pieces of pizza, a soda and a banana…. The only cold-lunch-kid with fresh fruit had pizza and a soda.

JR is the biggest kid in his class, I am aware of this. I worry that because he is a “bigger” kid that he would be a candidate for being bullying. Will my “weird” lunch make JR more of an outcast… a target? Will they laugh at his chicken salad boat and mixed nuts? Will they taunt him with their desserts?

They didn’t. They were all super kind, funny and it was an absolute joy to get to sit at their table! JR and I ate our weird lunch, smiled, laughed and enjoyed everyone’s company. The other kids never noticed what we were eating. But as we ate, I couldn’t help bit notice the other kids lunches.

It broke my heart.

As we walked out of the lunch room, I saw a beautiful child with a million watt smile laughing with their friends. That child’s lunch was a bright green, red, and orange salad.

Hope restored!

I walked with JR out to the play area and witnessed my favorite thing about JRs school…. The 100 mile club.

100
About 20 kids ran, walked, and skipped around a route pre-measured route. It was a beautiful thing. 14 laps equal a mile. JR got 10, and the fastest kid got 15. It was awesome watching them go!

When we got home later in the day, I asked MC and JR if they wanted to work out (first time I’ve had to ask)…. All three kids shouted YES!
I took the wod I did this morning, modified it, and had the kids do it…. Sprints!

WOD
4x from the garage to the end of the wall sprints (about 150m)

  • MC: 1:17, 1:20, 1:10 & 1:16
  • JR: 3:05, 1:59, 1:45, & 1:54
  • JY: 1:56 & 1:52

After dinner (marinated and broiled boneless skinless chicken thighs and roasted garlic mushrooms) we did homework, and I put the kids to bed…. And then I turned on huluplus. My husband and I started watching The Biggest Loser a few weeks ago and loved the first two episodes! Bob has a crossfit gym and the Biggest Loser has pointed out the elephant in our society: childhood obesity.  The statistics from the third show are absolutely heartbreaking:

17% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are “obese”

“at two years old they can’t choose what they want to eat or what they don’t want to eat so its really shocking and sad at the same time that the parents are playing such a major roll in these kids being obese.”- TBL contestant

60% of overweight (not EVEN obese… yet) children between the ages of 5-10 have at least one risk factor for heart disease (high cholesterol, high insulin or high blood pressure).  Childhood obesity TRIPLED in the last three decade…. Since 1983…. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I never liked the 80’s!

“come on America we got to pay attention to this”- TBL contestant

The best stat of the night:

75% of the PARENTS of obese children (not overweight), think their child is normal weight or even under weight.

“Being a parent is the toughest job in the world and everyone’s a critic! But if my son is going to be bullied or taunted, I’d rather it be over a healthy lunch that the bully will eventually realize is their key to their own happiness than being overweight.”- Quoted by a high school bully:

Me.

Tootles.
Jess

Good-bye Twenty twelve

Living overseas makes the holidays a tad bit tougher.  Shopping online just isn’t the same as strolling through a mall with one hand clenched to your purse, apologizing every time someone runs into you, smiling at sales clerks who hate their jobs, and finding that perfect gift that the receiver will never use and will eventually re-gift.  Waiting on overseas packages has just about the same fun-factor.

This is my 7th year living overseas and you’d think Id have it nailed by now.  I don’t.  I usually pride myself on writing in each Christmas card and getting those cards out by December 1st, to ensure my kids faces will be displayed at the top of each receivers beautifully decorated card display.  Not this year.  I blame it on shutterfly.  It’s the 28th of December and I still havent received my cards!

Christmas disappointments aside, we had a beautiful Christmas this year!  On Sunday we had a small “family” dinner.  The husband and I each cooked a prime rib: his was garlic and herb, roasted on the weber with mesquite chips; mine was seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven.  I also made a salad, ginger-honey carrots, roasted brussel sprouts.

His:

8 cloves of garlic cloves, minced and rubbed onto all sides of roast

2 T each: basil, rosemary, thyme (fresh) & olive oil (plus a bit salt & pepper) minced rubbed onto all sides

Fat trimmed, banded and indirectly roasted for 3 hours (until internal temp was 135)

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Carrots: sliced 1/4 inch, boiled for 7 minutes then drained and put back into hot pan with 2 T honey and 1 t ground ginger & a dash of dried thyme

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Roasted brussel sprouts: sliced and tossed in 2 T olive oil, 2 T balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper; roasted in oven at 350 for 40 minutes

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Mine prime rib was tasty but didn’t qualify for a photo shoot.  Yes, the brussel sprouts beat out my prime rib!  Meh, better luck next year!

At the last-minute my husband mentioned that one of our guests didn’t eat beef.  The horror!!!  Cue panic attack!  Since I have a paleo refrigerator, I have no shortage of left overs!  Yes, I fed one of my guests left overs for Christmas dinner.  Thank goodness I had one of my tastiest meals as my non-beef eaters Christmas dinner!

This recipe is one that my MIL shared with me over the summer!!

Italian sausage and peppers:

  • 2 packages of italian sausage (mild)
  • 4 bell peppers of any color, sliced thin
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 T tomato paste (the commissary doesn’t sell this in a tube, which would make sense…. so I use the smallest can and then put any leftover in a tupperware with saran wrap on top)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 2 T minced fresh basil

brown the sausages in a large pan over med-hi heat

once they are nice and brown, add: wine, chicken broth, tomato sauce and garlic; mix well

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 then add the peppers on top of the sausage, lower heat to low and cover 2012-12-22 12.11.58 Cook on low for 20 minutes.  Remove lid and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes to make sauce thicken.  Add chopped basil and serve.

I don’t post many recipes because honestly I don’t come up with my own stuff.  I like recipes.  Especially if they have few ingredients, are easy to make and taste amazing!

Now that 2012 is coming to a close, I’m starting to look at 2013.  I’ve never been big on New Years Resolutions, but this year is going to be different!  I’ve dabbled in fitness for the past few years, but this year I’m going to narrow it in a bit.  I’m starting off the new year with going to the Crossfit Level One Certification.  Not because I want to be a trainer, but to expand my knowledge and to better educate myself and my family on fitness.  The following weekend I’m going to go to the Crossfit Kids Certification!

My goal for 2013 is to lower my sons BMI from 22.3 to under 20, learn a choreographed dance, write more hand written letters and quit smoking.  More on each of these in the 12 months to come!  Wishing each of you a healthy, happy and safe 2013.

jess